A solo show can be absolutely anything. It can be funny or sad or dramatic, autobiographical or entirely fictional. A solo show can take you on undiscovered journeys or it can feel as familiar as a face in a mirror.
This solo show, by Sam Shaber, is a little of all of those things. She skillfully takes the moments of her life that she believes have truly made her and bravely lays them out for us to see and feel, all against the magical backdrop of Duran Duran. Don’t misunderstand. There is nothing flip or cliche about her connection to this most iconic of 80s British bands, oh no. Ms Shaber’s earnest and totally understandable deeply rooted admiration for this band (I have quite an extensive collection myself) underpins the play without mocking or demeaning it, far from it. As she sings her own quite wonderful, intimate and spellbindingly authentic songs between her vivid and beautiful honest storytelling, she lovingly intwines Duran Duran’s familiar melodies and lyrics, mixing her life with theirs. The story of her life, these pieces of it that she shares at least, are touchingly presented. She is as open and unguarded as a soul can be. Through many tragic and difficult moments she guides us, never over indulging, never sorrowful or effected. She shows us who she is and invites us to understand why she she needs to tell us.
I found this play to be profoundly moving, bold and refreshingly real. There are countless moments of truth and fragile, honest heartbreak told with candor humor and a touching frankness. It’s absolutely the very best kind of gentle documentary of a life. You know, when you meet someone entirely new, completely by accident, and you have such as strong sense of truly knowing them instantly. Sam Shaber is that kind of person, her show is instantly warm and familiar like that, and it is rich and deep, funny and rewarding.
As my first Fringe show of the season “Sam Shaber: Life Death and Duran Duran” is the perfect reminder why fringe festivals are so important. Fringe gives a space to shows like this that otherwise could not reach an audience. Shows that are not previews or short versions of something else but are entirely in their own universes and deserve our support and our attention.
"Sam Shaber: Life, Death and Duran Duran” is fresh from the 2017 Edinburgh festival, not exactly a shabby place to begin!
I hope you put Sam on your Fringe calendar. Her honest, simple and unfettered performance of what are the deepest pieces of herself is absolutely sublime. Bravo. I think the ‘Duran’ boys would be proud...
Life has three guarantees: you’re born, you die and if your name is Rio, you dance on the sand. New York indie rocker Sam Shaber was born hungry like the wolf for rock stardom. But what if you never get to join the band? Maybe you grow up to sing about life and death instead.
Coming off a wildly successful premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe, Sam Shaber: Life, Death & Duran Duran makes its U.S. debut this June at The Complex as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. In this original musical storytelling experience, acclaimed New York indie rocker Sam Shaber tells personal tales of adolescent dreams and lost loved ones. Each moment of loss is balanced with a vignette of Shaber as her obsessive, pre-teen, Durannie self (i.e. piercing her own ear with a push pin and declaring herself a future worldwide rock star) to create an emotional roller coaster of laughter, tears and catharsis. Between spoken word and her own songs, which she performs live on stage, Shaber reminds her audience that our loved ones become a part of us forever, and that is what keeps us dancing on the sand.
Co-written and directed by Lynn Ferguson, “Sam Shaber: Life, Death & Duran Duran” had its world premiere at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, presented by the Gilded Balloon, and garnered 5-star reviews, celebrity endorsements, BBC raves, and more.